About Wilderness Volunteers:  https://www.wildernessvolunteers.org/about-wv.html

The Project:

Central Idaho’s Sawtooth National Recreation Area and Sawtooth Wilderness are known for the rugged grandeur of their soaring 10,000 foot peaks, flowery mountain meadows, crystal clear lakes, towering alpine forests, and abundant wildlife, including elk, mountain goats, black bear, wolves, wolverines and pikas! Backpacking and hiking are spectacular in this country, and trout fishing is exceptional in backcountry lakes and streams. Our journey will begin at the beautiful Stanley Lake – just a few miles outside of the alluring mountain community of Stanley, Idaho. The area has several accessible hot springs, historic sites and other great places to play in and explore.

Our service project will be heavy trail maintenance in the remarkable Sawtooth Wilderness. We’ll set up a base camp at McGown Lakes at 8505’elevation after a backpack of 6.5 miles with pack support for tools, food and commissary supplies. Crew will camp at McGown Lakes and hike about a mile to project location on other side of 8,800’ pass. Most of the work will be focused on heavy trail maintenance and tread repair (Iron Creek – Stanley Lake Trail 640) above Sawtooth Lake, where the trail has sloughed in and become narrow and hazardous. Tread will need to be regraded to standard width with hand tools, rocks removed with hand tools and some rock wall constructed. If time permits Observation Peak Trail 614 which has not been maintained in several years will need heavy maintenance using a crosscut saw to clear downed trees, digging new trail tread, moving rocks, dirt and vegetation. Free time can be spent exploring the ever beautiful Sawtooth Wilderness – relaxing, fishing in alpine lakes, taking pictures, or setting off on a more strenuous hike to the secluded Trail Creek Lakes.

Additional Information: Crew will hike in about 6.5 miles from Stanley Lake Trailhead, or about the same distance from Iron Creek Trailhead. Pack stock will transport gear from Stanley Lake (6,500’) to the campsite at McGown Lakes (8,505’). This area was burned in 2003 by the Trailhead Fire. Iron Creek Trailhead (6.700’) and trail to Sawtooth Lake are the most heavily used access in the Sawtooth Wilderness, and for good reason – the spectacular alpine scenery is unparalleled! Expect hot temperatures and strenuous work on exposed mountain side with world class views. Water for the full day will need to be packed from camp.

This project is rated as a challenging project.

Challenging+
– Strenuous with longer backpacks, off-trail backpacks, sometimes with significant elevation changes. Also trips with camping and work at elevation, or canoeing with portages. These trips are very challenging and require excellent aerobic conditioning, past experience in outdoor settings and familiarity with backcountry camping. Challenging projects are not for beginners.

We highly recommend that those coming from low elevation (anything below about 5,000 feet) plan an extra couple days in the area before the trip to acclimate to the elevation for your own safety. Altitude sickness is a concern when traveling from low elevation to high elevation and getting acclimatized before the trip is one of the easiest ways to prevent it. If you need ideas on things to do/see before the trip contact your leaders.

Who can Volunteer? https://www.wildernessvolunteers.org/who-can-volunteer.html

WV Leaders for this Project

Aidalicia Swertfeger
is vying for that “life less ordinary” as she attempts to merge her zest for the outdoors with her technical education in communication design. Growing up in the foothills of the Sierras, Aidalicia lived for winters snowboarding in Tahoe, something she misses greatly. Having moved to Austin, Texas to complete her degree, she has realized she needs texture and pitch in her horizon. Planning on a Pacific Northwest relocation, she’ll continue on as a runner, an IPA girl, an avid solo traveler, a thru-hiker and a practitioner of minimalism.

The project trail is indicated by the area circled in red.
The Trail to the camping and work area was from the Iron Creek Trail-head, to Sawtooth’s lakes southern end. This is the second most popular trail in the Sawtooth area and is utilized by hikers, back packers and their pets!

Back Country Horsemen of Idaho – Squaw Butte Chapter volunteered to provide packing support for this project working with the Wilderness Volunteer leaders and the Sawtooth Ranger District.

From: Dorr, Jay -FS
Sent: Friday, August 25, 2017 09:06
To: Zoe Putter ; Rob Adams
Cc: Caitlin Frawley -FS; Dean, Liese -FS
Subject: RE: McGown Peak – Pack Support Project – August 26 – September 2

Stanley Lake drainage is still closed for fire and crew did not finish cutting out trail to McGown from that side.

Plan to go in from Iron Creek and camp at Sawtooth Lake.

I would rather not send pack string up that trail with all of the foot traffic it gets or have crew camp at Sawtooth Lake with all of the other use it gets. There is usually lots of traffic on Labor day weekend.

That is our best alternative with the fire in Stanley Lake drainage. Crew can work on original project. If they finish and have time, they can work around Sawtooth Lake and down North Fork Baron a ways. They can make some repairs in narrow spots along Sawtooth Lake. There are a lot of rock to remove from trail going that way.

If there are not campsites at Iron Creek Campground, there are undeveloped sites back down road.

Horse trailer parking may be difficult when Rob comes back to pack out camp. He may have to park a ways back down road.

I have been away working on other parts of forest and have not had email access until this morning. Caitlin is working on fire for a few days.

Please get word out to crew on change of meeting location and access. Sorry for short notice but fires are never convenient.

Have a great trip,

Jay

BCHI
On Saturday August 26, members Terry & Gail MacDonald, Jon & Dianne Seel, Laurie Bryan, Janelle Weeks, Lisa Griffith, Shelly Duff, Janine Townsend and Rob Adams meet at Stanley lake camp ground to work with the rangers and WV volunteers getting their 130 pounds of tools and their food and kitchen up to the work site at Sawtooth Lake.  Caitlin Frawley was the ranger who would be working along side the WV volunteers and was our contact for this effort.  On Sunday morning Caitlin delivered the tools, food, kitchen and other equipment to our camp site.  We had scouted the Iron Creek trail head and determined we didn’t have suitable parking for all the trailers so choose to take the Alpine Way trail from Stanley lake over to Iron Creek, making the ride to the camp site and back 22 miles.  After getting packed up we started out from Stanley lake and made pretty good time up the steep and little traveled trail.  At mile 6.5 we started encountering downfall and at mile 7 two dangerous creek crossings.  At this point it was getting late and we turned around to give it a try the next day from the Iron Creek Trail-head.

Laurie Bryan August 28

Packing supplies in to a wilderness trail crew at Sawtooth Lake. The first day got a little rough and two of the guys had to bailed on us. Regrouped the next day minus the two. The next day and a different route, five women, 11 horses, 1 mule and Rob made it to the lake without incident. The “G” in Girl Power now stands for “Get ‘er done.”  Laurie took most of the pictures on this project


Janelle, Decaf and Tucker


Laurie Bryan August 28 ·

Shelly rounding “Oh Shit Drop.” I have no idea what’s it’s called – but that’s what I’m calling it. Pictures do not do this section justice – besides – I’m trying to shoot pictures and trust that Jack isn’t going to plumet to our death off these sheer faces. The most wicked trails I’ve been on I think. Absolutely beautiful. I would love to take some of the folks who scoff at “trail horses” for a little hike on these trails. I think their opinion of “just a trail horse” might change.


Janine talking to some of the many trail users we met while packing for this project, with very few exceptions each encounter went well, with the other users very interested in what we were doing and the stock. Lots of pictures of us were taken.

On September 2nd,  Janelle Weeks, Lisa Griffith, Shelly Duff and Rob Adams returned to Sawtooth lake with five pack stock and packed out the crew.

See More Pictures

Movie made by Janelle

08. August 2017 · Comments Off on Yellow Jacket Project · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events, Horse Camping, Work Parties and Projects

Nancy Smith

Yellow Jacket trail,Cascade Idaho,was very smokey but we had a great time and saw lots of wildlife and cut lots of trees . I hope, I got my sawyers certification. We’ll see what the FS says ,,
Yippie. Some very stylish head gear worn by our members
Janelle Weeks

Some work had already been done on the Yellow Jacket Trail, however, we cleared out several downed trees and other trees and brush that will make for safer travel along the trail. It was a warm day w/ a good layer of smoke from nearby fires – which made for sweaty, smoky, dirty days…with great food and conversation from all at the end.  It was a busy weekend in the Boise National Forest; campers, motorcyclists, equine enthusiasts, bicyclists, fishermen, etc. Good to see that our work is enjoyed appropriately.  Also good to see wildlife so prevalent! We had several visits from the resident deer.

See More Pictures   /   Video

03. December 2016 · Comments Off on Wilderness Volunteers Schedule 2017 · Categories: Around The Campfire, Work Parties and Projects

WV

Project Schedule by Date

Click on a project name for more information. The fee for 2017 projects is $299. If you want to be on the waitlist for a project that is currently full, submit an application. We will notify you if space becomes available. If you are still interested in doing the project, payment will be due at that time.  Remember, December registration for Summer/Fall 2017 projects (projects from July to November) is limited to Supporters of Wilderness Volunteers. You can become a Supporter by making a donation to Wilderness Volunteers.

wv2017

 

01. December 2016 · Comments Off on 2016 – Hours & Miles Summary (Squaw Butte Chapter) · Categories: Current Events, Work Parties and Projects

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hours-2016-summary

23. August 2016 · Comments Off on Wilson Corral TR135 & Gabe’s Peak TR136 · Categories: Current Events, Horse Camping, Work Parties and Projects

TR134TR136
Project dates: August 20/21, 2016
National forest: Boise
Ranger District: Emmett
Trail Head Road: FR 653
Trail Miles worked: Completed TR135 / Complete Trail TR 136 (cleared to upper meadow on each trail)

TR135 Down Fall Encountered: 45
TR135 Down Fall Cleared: 45
TR135 Trail Brushed: where needed

TR136 Down Fall Encountered: 15
TR136 Down Fall Cleared: 15
TR136 Trail Brushed: Where needed

Wilson corral pictures
https://goo.gl/photos/KEeALQwoD6QtzE8w9

We encountered a lot of large downfall, much of it up-rooting’s of otherwise healthy trees on the Wilson Corral trail. A number of work arounds are no longer necessary as we reestablished the original trail bed. West mountain is the driest I have ever seen it in the 16 years I have been riding there. Creeks are dry and the grass in the upper meadow is brown.

On Gabe’s Peak trail many of the downfall were from previous years, and had work arounds, we reestablished the original trail bed, unless erosion made the work around a better option. A re-routing of this trail up to the ridge should be considered, with a number of switch backs replacing the 10 to 20 degree climb almost straight up. With the mostly dirt trail bed a lot of erosion is a problem as well as an almost un-hike-able trail.

Squaw Butte Members on the Project
Rob Adams
Lisa & Tom Griffith

Pictures taken on this project

23. August 2016 · Comments Off on Squaw Creek TR131 North & Poison Creek Tr134 · Categories: Current Events, Horse Camping, Work Parties and Projects

Map-Squawcreek
Blue trail Saturday / Red on Sunday

Project dates: August 6/7, 2016
National forest: Boise
Ranger District: Emmett
Trail Head Road: FR 625
Trail Miles worked: 5 TR131 / Complete Trail TR 134

TR131 Down Fall Encountered: 45 (about 2/3 of the trail was worked)
TR131 Down Fall Cleared: 45
TR131 Trail Brushed: First Mile (This trail need a lot of brush removed, it would make a great Boy Scout project)

TR134 Down Fall Encountered: 1
TR134 Down Fall Cleared: 1
TR134 This trail need to be remarked. Game and cattle trails make it very difficult to follow in many places, from the trail head to bridge needs brushing.

Sign at junction for TR131 & TR 134 is missing, just two nails in the tree it was attached to. Unless you know where to turn, you will miss the TR134 turn off.

We re-routed a section of the 131 trail that ran along squaw creek, a very large tree up-rooted right next to the creek and fell a crossed it. The large tree well is now part of the creek bed and with the next high water will completely wash out. See included pictures. We move the trail about 30 foot up the hill side which was protected by a rock and trees. There is a short 25 degree climb from old to new trail, the horses had no problem doing it.

We saw two back packers on TR131, a first, we ran into a number of cows and saw a lot of bear sign, but no wildlife. Huckleberry were very tasty.

We plan to go back to Squaw Creek the weekend of September 10 to complete the upper third of the trail.

Squaw Butte Members on the Project
Rob Adams
Leah Osborn
Travis (last name unknown)
Lisa & Tom Griffith
Shelly Duff
Kelley Ragland
Nancy Smith
Shannon Schantz

Pictures from this Project

05. July 2016 · Comments Off on Kennally Creek Project weekend · Categories: Around The Campfire, Horse Camping, Work Parties and Projects

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Kennally_Work_Crew5Kennally_Work_Crew3Kennally_Johna_Acorn_Trail
Kennally_Johna_Acorn_Smile KennallyCreekProject2016

11. June 2016 · Comments Off on National Trails Day 2016 · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events, Work Parties and Projects

Peace Creek

 Middle Fork of the Payette River
Squaw Butte BCHI
June 4 & 5, 2016

June 4, 2016 is American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day®, the country’s largest celebration of trails. National Trails Day events will take place in every state across the country and will include hikes, biking and horseback rides, paddling trips, bird watching, geocaching, gear demonstrations, stewardship projects and more.

Squaw Butte each year plans a national trail day project, it the past they have been held in state parks picking up trash, the Payette national forest fixing trail bed and this year at the Peace Creek Trail head, removing a large quantity of fallen trees that were blocking two trails.

Read More: 2016 National trails day             More Pictures

19. May 2016 · Comments Off on 2015 Season Accomplishments for the McCall/New Meadows Trail Crew · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events, Work Parties and Projects

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PNFTrailCrew2015  See the whole report

18. May 2016 · Comments Off on FY 2015 Boise National Forest North Zone Trails Program Accomplishments · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events, Work Parties and Projects

2015 Trail Accomplishment end of season report NZT01Eagles Nest Trail Project
District: Cascade
Trail No. 11104
Background:
The Eagles Nest Trail was inspected on November 13, 2013. The trail was inspected from the boundary of Idaho State Land and Boise National Forest where the 400 road parallels the trail. The Eagles Nest trail is a moderate to high use trail located in a remote are on the Cascade Ranger District
Purpose and Need:
The project is located approximately 1 mile from a parking area along the 400 road. The trail crosses several small ridges and descends to the first stream and Stream Environment Zone (SEZ). The SEZ area is approximately 15 yards long. The trail then ascends up and over a small hill to the next SEZ. The length of the second SEZ is approximately 53 yards. The trail ascends out of the marshy area and heads northeast. The approaches to both areas are very steep and incised. The grades exceed 25% and there are large quantities of sediment entering the SEZs and the perennial stream that runs across the trail. The wet areas are highly impacted and have significant trail braiding from users trying to find a better route. The total length of the project is approximately 425 yards.
The reconstruction of this section will improve public safety, reduce significant ongoing resource damage, and improve the overall user experience.
Completed Repair: The project is currently under construction. The estimated time of completion is mid-October.
– Realignment and construction of approximately ¼ miles of new trail
– Decommissioning and restoration of ¼ miles of existing trail
– Construction of two Puncheon/Causeways approximately 70 yards long

NZT03

Project in the Yellow Pine Area

NZT02

17. May 2016 · Comments Off on Trail Project Season is Finally Here! · Categories: Around The Campfire, Horse Camping, Work Parties and Projects

TP06TP07TP02TP01TP04TP03TP08 Attending a BCHI Project Weekend

28. April 2016 · Comments Off on Annual Boise National Forest Partnership Meeting – May 16, 2016 · Categories: Current Events, Public Meetings, Work Parties and Projects

2016May
Subject: Annual Boise National Forest Partnership Meeting

Trail Partner Volunteers:

I hope all of you have had a good winter and are rested up for the summer season! Trail season has arrived and it is time for the annual Boise National Forest North Zone Trails Program Partnership Meeting. I was hoping to have the meeting in Boise area  the on Monday , May 16, 2016. I have talked with a few of you and 7:00pm seems to allow time for people in the outlying areas time to arrive. I was considering about having it at the following location:

Idaho Pizza Company
7100 W. Fairview Ave
Boise, ID. 83704
(208) 375-4100

It is a fairly centralized location and I have been to meeting with several groups there and you can get a bite to eat if you wish. If there are other suggestions, please let me know soon because I’ll have to see if one of the meeting rooms are available.

I have attached several items of importance for you and your members to review. The most important is the 2016 Voluntary Service Agreement. If your organizations current representative could review, sign, date the form and send it back to me as soon as possible that would be a great assistance. I would like to present them to my District Ranger for approval before the annual meeting. This is very important!

We will review 2016 work calendar, safety items, update daily sign-sheets, trail work reporting sheets, future projects, and any other trail topics you would like to discuss.

Some of the current projects already scheduled this year are the following:
2016 Annual Trail Maintenance
Ten Mile Bridge Replacement
Rice Peak Connecter Layout and NEPA
Stratton Creek Trail Reroute Layout and Repair
Stoney Meadows Bridge Replacement
Wilson Corrals Puncheon Layout and Reroute
Renwyk Reroute Layout
Bull Creek Puncheon Replacement
Julie Creek Heavy Maintenance
Peace Creek upper trail repair

Additional Programs
Implementation of 2016 Non-motorized Grant. Partnership with American Conservation Experience. Partnership
With Idaho Trail Assn, BCH of Idaho
Implementation of 2016 Motorized Maintenance Grant Partnership with Boise ATV, Emmett ATV, TVTMA and Idaho

Department of Parks and Recreation
Implementation of 2016 Mountain Bike Grant: Wewukiye Trail Construction. Partnership with SWIMBA
TVTMA annual Lowman Trail Maintenance Day
Emmet ATV annual Sage Hen Maintenance Day

If you have additional work days for me to add to the calendar please let me know. I would like to staff as many of your projects as possible.

If you know of any other individual who would like to attend, please pass this information along.

Thanks again for all of your support and help! I am looking forward to seeing all of you this season.

John Hidy
Boise National Forest North Zone Trails Supervisor
Lowman Ranger District
US Forest Service
Desk 208-259-3361 ext. 7539
Cell (760)920-2774
jhidy02@fs.fed.us

Boise National Forest Volunteer Project Sign in Sheet

2016Volunteer Trail Report Form

2016 VSA trails

2016B NFTrails Calendar

2016 Lowman_trail_ annual_maintenance

Emmett trail rotation 2016

cascade rotation 2016

 

23. October 2015 · Comments Off on 2015 Year in Review · Categories: Around The Campfire, Work Parties and Projects

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Squaw Butte 2015 Events and Projects

05. October 2015 · Comments Off on Horses! Slow Down! Stop! · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events, Work Parties and Projects

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Read about our Boiling Spring Weekend and view more pictures at!

02. October 2015 · Comments Off on PPE – It is not just a fashion statement! · Categories: Around The Campfire, Work Parties and Projects

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Laurie starts cutting a wedge

Laurie starts cutting a wedge

DO NOT go into the woods without it!

07. September 2015 · Comments Off on Labor Day – Wilson Corral Trail · Categories: Around The Campfire, Work Parties and Projects

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By Rob Adams

Want to make a group of young girl’s day, pull into a trail head they are camping at with a couple of horse. That is exactly what happened to me on Sunday September 6, 2015. I wanted to get some trail time on my back up horse Tucker and I also wanted to finish up work I had started at Wilson Corral. Read More

23. June 2015 · Comments Off on Northern Payette Nation Forest Trails work ’14 and ’15 · Categories: Current Events, Work Parties and Projects

pnf-bridgeHere is a summary from last year 2014 and the Trail Plan for this year 2015. 2014 accomplishments are just that….The Trail Plan FY15 has a lot of stuff that doesn’t matter for BCH, but on page 5 of 26 you will find Central Zone Trails Level One Maintenance Plan. This list shows what we plan to get done this summer in house, but we hope to accomplish more.

Level One Maintenance – “opening of trail” (log out and light brushing)

Unfortunately, with all of this stuff it is just Central Zone(McCall and New Meadows). In the future I am going to get West Zone(Council and Weiser) organized in the same fashion.

Lastly, are the trails we have assigned to the ID State Trail Rangers. We are hoping to get two hitches from them and for them to exceed what is on the list.

Kent May- FS [mailto:kmay@fs.fed.us]

2014TrailAccomplishments         Trail ranger request 2015     2015 McCall & New Meadows Trail Plan

08. June 2015 · Comments Off on Boundary Trail Project – National Trails Day · Categories: Around The Campfire, Work Parties and Projects · Tags: , , ,

Cows are way scarier than bears and other such truths

Rob_Boundary

 

The Boundary Trail maintenance project would be the first SBBCHI project where I would leave my camper at home. An unusually hectic weekend meant turning this project into a day ride. Fortunately, the Payette National Forest is practically in my backyard. The Boundary trailhead is an easy 50 miles haul from my driveway. I loaded Jack early Saturday morning for the haul up 95 to the Seid Creek turnoff. Being camper-less would turn out to be the “first” of several “firsts” for me during this National Trails Day weekend

Click the link below for the complete story:

BoundaryTrail

Link to photos

 

 

21. August 2014 · Comments Off on Middle Fork Payette river trail – TR033 (north end) · Categories: Around The Campfire, Work Parties and Projects

PMF01Nine members of Squaw Butte spent a great weekend at a new camp site for us, off FR 409 east of Cascade, ID on the head waters of the Middle Fork of the Payette river. The forest service map on Trail 033 indicates this is it northern termination and checking it out and doing some trail maintenance seemed like a good idea. The camp site is one of the best we have every used, the trail was a disappointment. After clearing about 3/4 of a mile the trail could not be found, it is likely it was washed out by high water over the years.
PMF02The trail head / camping site was excellent with trailer parking, water for stock and shade for setting up a great group area.
PMF03This sign indicated we were in the right place and we found a defined trail bed and logs that had been cut by prior trail maintenance efforts.
PMF04A survey on Friday night indicated that the trail had some major downfall and the best plan of action was to start the project on foot, and only get the stock on the trail after we had cleared the first 1/2 mile of trail.
PMF05

PMF06Unfortunately at the 3/4 of a mile mark the trail could no longer be located. It appears that the original trail bed has been washed away by the river and we could go no further. After a good lunch, the group did a nice afternoon ride.
PMF07While the group didn’t accomplish what they had hoped on trail 033 north, we all had a great time. SEE MORE PICTURES

13. June 2014 · Comments Off on National Trails Day 2014 – Steck Park Trash Pick Up · Categories: Work Parties and Projects · Tags: , , ,
The gang picking up trash

The gang picking up trash

 

National Trails Day 2014

What: Trash pickup

Where:  Steck Park to Crazy Lady Gate

When: June 7th – National Trails Day 10:30 AM – completion

Potluck at my place after the project

Latex gloves = highly recommended

BYOB (bring your own bags)

  View more pictures

This was our second year spending National Trails day picking up trash along the Snake River from Steck Park to the red gate – or as I now call it: “Crazy Lady Gate.”  It would be hard to top last year’s adventure and frankly, that would be perfectly fine with me. If you would like to know why – follow this link to last years story of “The Crazy Lady of Steck Park”

Janine, Lou Ann and Nancy trailer-pooled to my house Saturday morning. I had spotted Rob’s trailer heading for the park at 8:00 AM while on the ditch setting my irrigation water. He was either real excited to start this project or he miscalculated the traveling time. Either way, he took advantage of his early arrival by napping.

The girls and I were a little late in leaving my place.  A cool breeze billowed through the open windows – the fridge jammed full of delectable food temped all to skip the project and head straight into the pot-luck. Surely we could come up with some excuse as to why we didn’t show up on the river. Conscious got the better of us, however, and the girls followed me to the park on a road made of washboards and dust.

There was a slight failure in communication at the trail-head. Rob and Bob parked at the old Dutchmen’s corrals on the hill before the boat-dock. I figured since we weren’t camping- I‘d park at the boat-dock to avoid the cattle guard.  Janine parked somewhere in the middle for the sake of democracy. I think she might be running for office in the near future.

It’s about 5 miles from the boat-dock to Crazy Lady Gate. The sun was high over-head and hot. Hotter than last year at this time for sure or maybe it was the long sleeve shirt I wore. I still had a few spots of poison ivy on my forearms that flare up when exposed to the sun. Whichever it was – I was crankier than Lou Ann’s palomino mare, Brandi.

Bob, Rob and Nancy walked most of the five miles to Crazy Lady Gate. Lou, Janine and I rode into coves before dismounting to pick up trash. This year’s winning trash items were plastic water bottles,  bait containers and used toilet paper (hence the highly recommended latex glove).

Stinking catfish carcasses – cans of stale Keystone doubling as spittoons and the ever popular streams of toilet paper were about all this germ-a-phobe could handle for one hot, poison ivy covered day.  “This is just stupid. Whose idea was this anyway? This is a dumb project.  Littering should be a hanging offence right up there with horse thieving.” If the others had known what a bad mood I was in, they would have pinned a red ribbon to the back of my pants as a warning like they do horses that kick. I felt like kicking something!

It’s hard to stay in a bad mood for long with Janine and Lou for company. “Hey Laurie, your hat matches Lou Ann’s shirt,” Said Janine. “It does, and my hat matches Janine’s shirt!” Said Lou Ann. “Hey… and my hat matches your shirt, Laurie.” Janine says. “I know, let’s all trade hat’s and swap horses and see how long it takes the rest of them to notice!” Seriously…next ride – we are doing it.

We stopped to chase a herd of cattle before turning into the next cove. Correction, we would never chase those cows (in case there are any ranchers reading this). We merely moved them to the opposite side of the road from the cove so they didn’t come after me and kill me as soon as I dismounted. I’m telling you – it can happen. Actually, Janine and Kiger moved the cows. Lou and I hung back and watched from afar. Both of our horses understand the imminent danger lurking within a bovine herd.

Janine moving cows

Janine moving cows

We somehow picked up Bob in the second to last cove. Nancy and Rob had gone on ahead to the last cove at Crazy Lady Gate.  Lou and I rode on to meet Rob and Nancy while Bob and Janine turned back to spare Kigers’ hooves. The road is five miles of sharp rock that can cause even a shod horse to gimp a little.

Rob and Nancy had taken care of Crazy Lady Cove by the time Lou and I got there. We rode back toward the park, picking up Janine and Bob on the way. Rob said he would let the park host know where we had left the garbage bags. Last year, the camp hosts were grateful that we had spent the day picking up trash and happily went back after the bags. This year’s camp host was not at all impressed. He let Rob know that it was not part of his host duties and under no circumstances was he taking his four-wheeler out of official park boundaries. Funny, he looked like he could use the exercise. I’d go after the garbage later that evening.

We made it back to my place just in time to watch California Chrome almost become the first horse in 36 years to win the Triple Crown…almost. I sympathized with owner Steve Coburn’s emotional outburst. A Triple Crown winner would have been a huge shot in the arm for a sport that has lost popularity over the last 40 years.

After everyone left, I hooked my small utility trailer to my four-wheeler and Shade and I drove the 25 miles to Crazy Lazy gate. The trailer bounced and rattled over every wash-board and pot-hole on the planet. Fishermen and campers stopped to stare: “Nothing to see here folks – move along…move along.”

Several times the jarring bounced the back rail off the trailer and I had to go back for it. One such time I looked back and a group of cows had gathered around it as it lay in the dirt. I suppose they were curious. A big momma cow pawed and gave it a rough nudge. “Hey – I need that ….SHOOO!” Not one of them cows “SHOOO’d” an inch. Now what? I had to have that back rail or all the garbage would bounce out before I got home.  “Shade – get them cows out of here!” Shade lunged for the cows. Most of them moved. The big momma cow ducked her head and chased Shade back toward the four-wheeler. Here she comes, shaking her head with fire and smoke billowing out of her nostrils. You are on your own dog – I jumped on the Honda and sped up the hill as Shade clamored onto the seat behind me. Momma cow gave up the chase and meandered back to her mob. Shade and I warily coasted back down the hill to retrieve the rail.

Shade on her Four-Wheeler

Shade on her Four-Wheeler

 

The trailer wasn’t as bouncy or noisy with the weight of the trash bags in it but that didn’t stop the fishermen and campers from staring as we rambled by the various campgrounds.  I secretly hoped I’d meet the camp host when I drove through the park. I had concocted a story to tell him about how, while picking up the bags, I found a duffle bag full of drug money. I sure was glad he wasn’t allowed to take his four-wheeler out of the camp or he would have found it instead!

Shade and I made it home before dark – a good thing since the trailer doesn’t have lights. I parked the stinking pile of trash far from my front door where it would sit until the dump opened on Tuesday. I counted the number of bags we’d picked up; 13 bags – less than half of what we picked up last year. Maybe that was a good thing – maybe we made a dent in it last year or people were littering less.

A contest was in order. There would be a major REWARD for the first person to guess the correct number of large black plastic trash bags I’d put in my trailer. Luckily for me – nobody won the contest…I had no idea what the major REWARD would have been. However, if it wouldn’t have been major – it most certainly would have been unique. I’m thinking a box of latex gloves and a quart of hand sanitizer.

21. May 2014 · Comments Off on Dusty Roads and Dandelions (aka North Fork Wilderness Owyhee BLM Project Survey) · Categories: Around The Campfire, Work Parties and Projects · Tags: , , ,
Heading down a dusty road

Heading down a dusty road

If one does not count getting lost, a flat tire, broken shocks, two tipped over horses, several impalements and a flyaway awning…one might consider the SBBCHI scouting trip into the Owyhee’s a  success.

The objective: Meet with BLM staff at Current Creek to scout area for fence removal project in June. The project will involve the removal 6 miles of barbed-wire in the new wilderness area included in the Owyhee Initiative.

At least we had an objective. An accurate map would have been nice to go along with that objective.  Janine and I met at I.O.N between Homedale and Marsing. Our plan was to haul in via the Jordan Valley route. We figured if anyone was going to get lost, it was best to get lost together.  I had the GPS coordinates to the project site; however, past experience with “Dave” the GPS has left me with emotional scars likely to never heal. We were also unsure if the coordinates were to the camp spot or the actual fence. Our plan was to wing it.

Click here for the full story:Dusty Roads and Dandelions

Project survey

Click here for the full set of pictures on Picasa

19. September 2013 · Comments Off on The future of Backcountry Horsemen of America · Categories: Work Parties and Projects

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There’s more to backcountry horseman than a bunch of old people running around in the woods clearing trail. We are also concerned with fostering relationships with the future of our organization – the youngsters.

The average age for a SBBCHI member is somewhere around 62 years of age. Most of us are pretty tough and I suspect most will be running around in the woods sawing trees well into our 90’s – however, nature being what it is, we won’t live forever. It is a solemn fact that if we do not recruit the younger generation – the Backcountry Horsemen of America will eventually die off…or if you’d rather; ride the final trail into the great backcountry wilderness in the sky.

Sage Writer Blog       Read rest of this story        More Pictures

28. August 2013 · Comments Off on Kennally Creek to Needles Trail Project · Categories: Work Parties and Projects

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I have to admit, I was a little disgruntled when I heard the Cabin Creek project had been moved to Needles Trail above Kennally Creek Campground. I knew how to get to Cabin Creek. I drove up a week earlier to scope it out. My new smart phone’s GPS, “Andy” took me right to the campground without missing a beat or expecting me to drive down game trails. The area seemed ok to me. There was ample room to park for several big rigs and stock water was close enough to make due.  I took note of the amenities, cut a load of wood on the way out and followed Andy’s directions for the quickest way home.

Unbeknownst to me, Rob was scoping out the area at the same time. He wasn’t happy with the old logging road trail that wound through a burn or the less than ideal water situation. He was right, it wasn’t the prettiest place on the mountain and if you’re going to spend the weekend working your butt off it might as well be on trails with at least minor aesthetic appeal. I grumbled and frowned when I read the email from Rob that he had moved the project. For the first time since joining the chapter I had a heads up on where I was going and how to get there and Rob goes and jerks the rug out. Later I was glad he did.

Click here for the complete story in .PDF

Click here to view the pictures of this project in Picaso

14. August 2013 · Comments Off on Squaw Creek and Poison Creek Project · Categories: Work Parties and Projects

SquawCrk_PoisonCrk_Banner_2013

~How to break in a new member of the SBBCHI~

“Is there an App for that?”

What  is the best way to break in a new member of the SBBCHI? Strap a pair of saw chaps on her and send her up one of the most technical trails on the mountain. Enter – Squaw Creek TR 131 and Shelley Duff – Squaw Butte’s newest member.

The original plan was to clear Poison Creek Trail on Saturday and loop down Squaw Creek or pick up Squaw Creek on Sunday. We rode Poison Creek last year and made it a short distance past the bridge before encountering a massive tangle of blow downs obliterating the trail. We didn’t have the saws or the girl-power to put a dent in that one. I say “girl-power” only because our small group consisted of a woman to man ratio of 2:1.

The Ranger District notified Rob that a trail crew had already cleared Poison Creek.  Change in plans. We would concentrate on Squaw Creek Trail Saturday and check out Poison Creek on Sunday.

Click here for the complete story

Click here to view all of the pictures in Picaso

06. July 2013 · Comments Off on Logistics · Categories: Around The Campfire, Work Parties and Projects

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Logistics is the management of the flow of resources between the point of origin and the point of consumption in order to meet some requirements. Just like the UPS commercial, the Renwyk Creek and Tripod Peak projects were all about logistics. The first logistic problem was how to schedule and manage two separate projects on the same weekend. The projects were trail maintenance on two trails out of the Renwyk Creek trail head north of Sage Hen, the second was packing over 1500 pounds of food, water and equipment from Joe’s Creek Trail head to the Tripod Peak fire lookout with members of the Boise National Forest crew.  Read More     Pictures

Chick working a log on Renwyk Creek Trail

Chick working a log on Renwyk Creek Trail

 

Group_YellowJacket_2013

Yellow Jacket to Telephone Ridge Trail Project

It’s all in the timing. Janine and I pulled into camp, north of the Telephone Ride trailhead, Saturday afternoon just in time for super!

The crew chatted about the day’s project while preparing the evening meal. Members that arrived Friday evening spotted a pair of wolves passing through camp. Phil said the wolves paid little attention to them and showed less interest in the horses tethered in camp. Bearing slight resemblance to the shy, elusive creatures of the past, the massive animals dwarfed a large German shepherd. It would be wise to keep our dogs close and contained at night.

Saturday morning the six member crew covered a 15 mile loop from Yellow Jacket to Tyndall. Trails were reported in excellent condition due to previous maintenance by the TVMA. Some light pruning of overhanging limbs and removal of a few “widow makers” finished off the trail maintenance for ATV’s and horses.

After a dinner of DO baked chicken, stewed potatoes and onions, chili relleno casserole, baked beans and cherry upside-down cake, our crew hunkered down for what promised to be another chilly night with temperatures in the upper 20’s.

Sundays are normally a day of leisure and light riding on these weekend projects. Those that stay over will spend a few hours in the saddle enjoying the scenery during a relaxing day ride. At least that was our plan.

The first half of Telephone Ridge to Rice Peak is a steep grade that appears to never end. Hundreds of charred trees lined the trail as we wound our way through a burn. Obstacles were not a problem as the TVMA had also cleared this section of trail to the snow line. One good wind and that could all change in a hurry.

The reward for cresting the top is a lovely view of the Sawtooths. A family of ATV riders stopped at the overlook and visited with several members. Someone commented what a shame it was that the ATV’ers had missed catching sight of a small lake and the old fire lookout. I enjoy my Honda Rancher – but give me a good horse and comfortable saddle any day of the week.

The trail dropped off the ridge to a creek and disappeared. Phil thought the area looked familiar from his trip several years back. Rob took off on foot to scout a route that would drop us into Rice Lake and the trail leading home. The rest of us ate lunch and waited.

“It’s like this…it’s doable, but it has to be a unanimous decision. Everyone goes or nobody goes and we go back the way we came.” Rob went on to explain that we could make our way over the saddle and drop into a large meadow. The road picks up at the edge of the meadow on the far side of the bowl. The problem was the descent into the bowl. A large snowfield the size of a football field covered the steep slope. “It’s steep – but it’s not that steep if we lead the horses through it.” Rob, define “not that steep” for us again?

Phil volunteered to go first. Aside from a slight detour into a tree, he led his big red gelding down without incident. Jon followed Phil and Rob followed Jon. Rob led his riding horse and let the pack horse go on her own. Janine was riding a brand new, barely out of the pasture little Kiger/mustang that she was not all that familiar with. It was agreed that Gambler the Kiger would follow Rob down with his string. Everybody was on board with that except Gambler. He was not consulted in this decision and was not leaving Janine behind. He peered over the edge as Rob and his string slipped and slid their way down the slope. Janine took Gamblers lead and the duo cautiously made their way safely down. Lorraine and her horse Sassy were next. With a little coaching from the previous ascenders – Lorraine and Sassy picked their way down the mountain.

I looked at Chick. Chick looked at me. “Well…do you want to go next?” I asked.  Chick crossed his arms in front of him and shook his head. “Nope. I’m going last…I’ll be right behind you.” Great…apparently, not only can Chick belt out a toe-tapping rendition of Froggy Went a Courting, but he was also a mind reader. I had no intention of diving off that ridge with a 1200lb horse on my heels. If I could get Chick down before me, there would be no one to prevent me from getting back on my high horse and heading back the way we came!

I took a couple of steps. Jack took a couple of steps. “Shoo! Shoo horse! Go down the hill in front of me! Go on…Shoo!” Jack did not shoo. He pawed at the ground and commenced to roll. What happened after that is a blur to me but I’m sure the others got an eyeful they will never forget. I yanked on Jacks’ lead to keep him from rolling – he jumped up and bolted across the slope at an angle. I did my darnedest to cut him off from running back up to toward Chick. I did not succeed. He bolted in the other direction, lost his footing and went sailing down the slope like a giant buckskin covered toboggan picking up speed by the second. I thought for sure he would tuck his head and flip ass over teakettle. I barely had time to get over the image of him breaking his neck when my horse careen out of control down the hill and body slammed into a large granite boulder. I winced at the impact and imagined a shattered shoulder moments before he jumped up and dashed toward me across the slope. I threw up my arms, “Whoa Jack!” Jack did not Whoa. He bolted past me, made an abrupt 90 degree turn uphill and sunk clean past his belly. There he sat; stuck in a hole. His upper half sticking out of the snow – the rest of him buried midway past his girth. Now what horse? I could barely hear my comrades shouting words of encouragement (I prefer to believe it was not laughter) and advice from below. “Get hold of his lead and pull him downhill!” Ok. I can do that if I could find his lead. I followed the lead from this halter to where it disappeared beneath the snow. I tugged on the lead. It did not budge. I guessed he was stepping on it. Jack struggled a little and the lead came free. I think I heard someone shouting up more advice, “Don’t let go of that lead again!” Excellent advice; Ok…I can do this. I will not let go of this lead. I pulled Jack’s head slightly down hill. He heaved himself up and stood. I peered into the hole he had made when he broke through the rotten snow and damn near got sick. I don’t remember making it the rest of the way down the hill.

I hardly remember Chick coming down the slope but I must have been watching because I got pictures! Gathered together at the base of the ski slope, Janine met me with a big smile and two thumbs up. Phil, more animated than I’m accustomed to seeing him, grinned like a schoolboy: “That was a kick! Let’s do it again!” I do believe he meant it.

I did a quick exam of Jack. Running my hands over his legs to feel for injuries, I found two small scrapes and a minor laceration on the inside of his left hind leg; a small price to pay the fiddler for such a dance. I hugged my horse tight, swung into the saddle and followed my comrades through the meadow to the road that led to camp. A total of 18 miles that peaked out at 8200 feet in elevation.

Gambler had been a trooper the entire ride. The young five year old had barely been out of the pasture and under saddle for little more than six months. He diligently carried Janine up that ridiculous grade without complaint. He proved himself calm and level headed on the ski slope. Now, barefoot and sore, the little Kiger trudged onward seeking soft ground for his tender hooves. Janine would not push him. We let the others hotfoot it back to the trailers while we took our time and let Gambler pick his way. We got off and walked the last few miles to ease his load. If it had been possible, I would have tossed him over my saddle and let Jack carry him home.

We broke camp and said our goodbye’s as one by one, SBBCHI members brought an end to another successful and rewarding project.

TheEnd_YellowJacket_2013

The End

 Click here to view the album of pictures

 

 

 

 

 

 

06. June 2013 · Comments Off on National Trails Day – Steck Park Cleanup · Categories: Work Parties and Projects

Click for the complete post

 

15. May 2013 · Comments Off on Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation · Categories: Around The Campfire, Work Parties and Projects

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Eric Melson here from the Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation writing to update you about three volunteer trail maintenance projects this summer within the Frank Church – River of No Return Wilderness. We’re looking to fill these projects with volunteers, maybe you could be one of them? Please feel free to pass this email along to folks who may be interested in joining us for a projects this summer. Here’s what we have cookin’:

Volunteer Registration Packet 2013        SBFCF Southwestern Idaho 2013 Projects

29. September 2012 · Comments Off on 2012 Squaw Butte Trail Warriors · Categories: Work Parties and Projects

National Trail Day

Between June 1st and September 30th 2012 Squaw Butte supported nine trail maintenance projects.  These projects covered a large section of south western Idaho, taking place in the Boise & Payette National Forests and the Frank Church Wilderness.  They were in partnership with the Emmett and Weiser Ranger Districts and the Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation.

The work covered a large spectrum of activities, from packing, to rock rolling, but mostly entailed the removal of a very large amount of blow down and pruning.  We also did some major tread improvement removing a rotted log bed section through a bog and replaced it with a gravel trail bed.  Read More

26. September 2012 · Comments Off on W. FK. Brownlee Creek · Categories: Work Parties and Projects

West Fork of the Brownlee

Trail #266

The West Brownlee Creek project brings closure to the 2012 season of work projects for the SBBCHI and a sad farewell to a valuable partner, Mike Mullin, Payette National Forest West Zone Recreation contact. Mike has accepted a transfer to Lincoln Montana: “… Lincoln is very close to my wife’s family and I love the area due to its proximity to the Bob Marshall wilderness complex so I couldn’t resist applying when a position came open.” We will miss Mike’s enthusiasm and dedication to partnering with our Chapter’s mission of keeping America’s trails open. However, we are happy for Mike and his family and look forward to making contact with the new PNF liaison, Jascha Zeitlin.

It’s time to hit the trail and leave the sad news behind! Mike made arrangements to send Ryan, one of his crew, to assist us with the trail work on Saturday, September 22nd. Ryan would meet us at the trailhead by 9:00 AM. It’s a good thing too – otherwise, I would have gone the wrong direction at the creek and cleared the wrong trail! I really need to look into doing something about my navigational skills..or lack of.

Click here to read the rest of the story

Click here to view the gallary pictures

07. September 2012 · Comments Off on What did you do with your August? · Categories: Work Parties and Projects

Squaw Butte members were on the trail a lot in August. We had a trail crew support project on Marble Creek in the Frank Church, trail maintenance project at Wilson Corrals and Squaw Creek on West Mountain, and two pack trips, one to the Bob Marshal and the other to the Eagle Caps. What did you do with your August?

Marble Creek team

Members on the Marble Creek support project were Phil Ryan, Jake Lemon and Janine Townsend

fire

August also saw Idaho back country Burning!

Wilson CorralLaurie

Down fall was heavy this year due to micro-bursts in the west central mountains.

Louann

As hard as we worked in August, we still had a great time.  So JOIN us on one of our upcoming event!

I am having major writers block in regards to a blog piece for the Squaw Creek/Poison Creek work project the weekend of the 18th. Nothing exciting happened at all. Nobody got bucked off, rolled on, stepped on, kicked, bit or required a medical evacuation. There were no injuries other than a few aching shoulders expected with the type of work we do. The only blood I saw the entire weekend was my own, and that didn’t occur until the last few minutes before loading up and heading for home. I got so bored I decided to use my pocket knife to cut the witches knot out of Annie’s tail. I missed her tail and sliced my finger; hardly anything to write home about, let alone blog about. I considered making something up. Not a lie exactly – more of a fictional elaboration of the actual events to sort of spice things up. I might convince Rob to go along with some fantastic account of adventure and intrigue, Lou Ann, however, is a different story. Lou Ann insists on seeing that I remain grammatically correct and honest in my storytelling at all times. Programmers.

We came, we cut and we conquered. That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. It makes for a fairly drab blog piece, doesn’t it? Actually, the previous weekend was much more interesting, but has nothing to do with Back Country Horseman and would be more appropriate for another blog. I had just ridden out of the Eagle Caps after spending the earlier part of the week following a band of hippies through the mountains. As I said, this story is best left for another blog – but I will say this: What happens on the mountain does not necessarily stay on the mountain. One word of advice – DO NOT eat dried fruit prepared by a hippy chic living without proper sanitation facilities – no matter how hungry you get.

Jack had thrown a shoe sometime between the hippy excursion and home. I called every farrier I trusted within 100 miles without gain. I gathered all the old shoeing tools I could find, tossed in a handful of nails and picked up two size 0 front rims at D&B on my way through town. I can tack on a shoe in an emergency if I have to. I hoped I didn’t have to.  

Completely ignoring Dave the GPS – I followed the directions from the web site to Squaw Creek campground. I opted to go the long way through Ola. Even with newly installed trailer brakes, bearings and two new trailer tires, I didn’t feel up to four wheeling my way this weekend. It was just too easy. I pulled into the campground without making one wrong turn. At least it appeared to be the campground from the directions. Rob mentioned he would try to be there by noon and place a few signs. There were no signs and no Rob and it was coming on 3:30 PM. I temporarily high-lined Jack and Annie and parked my rig in an area easy to spot should anybody drive by, and waited.

 I wandered around the area checking it against the map. This had to be the right spot. Where was everyone? I hadn’t brought any feed for the horses and there was not much graze where I had high-lined. I decided if nobody showed up in the next few hours, I would move the horses to graze and set up camp for the weekend, right spot or not. As it was, Rob pulled into camp several hours later. Jack and Annie would be glad to see the certified weed free hay and I was proud of my sense of direction for probably the first time in my life. 

Rob took a look at Jack’s hoof and determined it would probably do more harm to tack on a shoe than to leave it as is. Jack has good, sound feet and they had grown out enough to give him plenty of hoof wall protection against the rocky terrain for one weekend. I brought along a pair of emergency barrier boots in case we were wrong.

 Lou Ann arrived just before dark. The three of us would make up the work crew for the weekend. I brought out a chicken broccoli casserole for dinner and the others tossed in various vittles to go along with it. Still feeling the effects of the previous weekend’s hippy adventure, I turned in early.

Saturday morning the three of us hit the trail bright and early. It was an experience in mounting/dismounting. A deadfall lay across the trail every 100 yards or less. Toward the top of the trail, one of the saws threw a bearing and seized up. The remaining saw was in need of sharpening and fast became worthless. We soon had nothing more to cut trees with than a paper weight and a spoon.

We reached the meadow about 3:45 PM. Lou Ann and I are still uncertain what came over Rob. One minute he’s meandering casually across the meadow, the next he’s spurred Payette into a lope and is dashing off carefree into the middle of a small group of cattle. It could be that Rob, not unlike Gus McCrae from Lonesome Dove, felt compelled to ride out in search of adventure for the pure joy of it…for no other reason than because he can.

Rob prepared chicken with a mushroom sauce and wild rice. Lou Ann had made green beans to die for and I whipped up a Dutch Oven peach cobbler.  I had brought the wrong Dutch oven for the job. The lid was the rounded, burry in the ground variety, and I needed a lid with a lip to hold the briquettes in place. Rob scrounged through his DO supplies and came up with an acceptable lid that would make do. That is pretty much how it goes on these trips – nobody expects perfection and everyone pitches in and makes do where needed. Aside from a little ash around the edges – dinner was served.

Poison Creek trail on Sunday would be cut rather short. A tangled mass of a dozen or more blow-downs blocked the trail shortly after the bridge crossing. We split up in three different directions to scout out an alternate route before coming up empty handed. We made the determination that Poison Creek would have to remain closed for the time being. We had neither the saws nor the man/girl power to tackle this one today. Rob would contact the FS and have them flag a route at their discretion. Squaw Butte would open Poison Creek on another day.

I looked down at the blood trickling from a small slash in my index finger. Well, that was the most eventful thing that’s happened all weekend. I wonder if I can’t come up with something a bit more exciting for the blog. “There we were – the three of us – each dedicated members of the Squaw Butte Back Country Horseman of America, face-to-face with, until now, an undiscovered tribe of hostile natives. The chiefs menacing black eyes sent shivers up my spine as the sun glinted across the razor sharp knife he held in his hand…”

09. August 2012 · Comments Off on West Mountain – Wilson Corrals to Gabes Peak · Categories: Work Parties and Projects

 

 

  

“Is this your idea of a joke, Dave? What the hell…you said to take a hard left…I took a hard left. You call this washed out, pot-hole infestation a road? This is a road for four wheelers Dave, not for trucks hauling 8,000 pounds of horse trailer and cab-over. I knew I should have Google mapped instead of relying on you. You have not been right one lousy day of our 5 year relationship. Five years Dave! Five years of wrong turns, dead-end shortcuts and illegal U turns. I can’t drive like this anymore, Dave. I’ve listened to your patronizing monotone voice for the last time. I have a notion to toss you out of the truck alongside this boulder lined rut hell you call a road. Don’t worry Dave, you’ll find your way. After all, West Mountain is just 25 miles due west as the crow flies. I hope you can fly Dave.

Click here to read the rest of the story.   More Pictures

 

 lifeflight

“State Comm., this is Back Country Horsemen Mobile Two, over!”

With this simple statement spoken into a hand held radio, a whole series of events were put in motion.  What events led up to this radio call?

I tried State Comm. again and got an immediate response.  I explained who I was and that I had a sixty-five year old woman with me that was showing symptoms of Heat Exhaustion and Dehydration.  A number of questions were asked and answered and I requested that they contact Valley County EMT’s and Rescue to meet us with an ambulance to transport her to the Cascade Hospital.    Read Rob’s journal of events     Read Mary Kay’s

A FISH OUT OF WATER

I was a little worried that nobody was going to show up to my second trail project in the Payette National Forest. Rob, Phil and Robbin, a few of the more experienced packers in our chapter, would be away on a ten day support crew project in the Frank Church. Without some of our more seasoned members to guide us, I wasn’t sure anyonewould be willing to follow a directionally challenged newbie with a knack for misadventure. I would not blame them either. Especially since all they might get to eat for three days is bottled water and Beanie Weenies.

Rob assured me that I would not be clearing trail alone, even if we had to twist a few arms in the process. Feeling more like a fish out of water than a project coordinator of any kind, I set about preparing for a weekend of trail work and meal preparation for an undetermined amount of crew.

Click here for the complete story…

05. June 2012 · Comments Off on National Trails Day – Squaw Butte Style · Categories: Work Parties and Projects

                                              

National Trails Day 2012

Boundary Trail Project

In celebration of the 2012 National Trails Day theme: “America’s Largest TRAILgating Party,” members of the Squaw Butte Back Country Horseman of Idaho set out to conquer a minute section of the 200,000 miles of America’s national trails system. Sixty feet of bog and waterlogged trail corduroy would challenge the small group of dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers.

Click here to read the entire post

click here for more info on National Trails Day

08. May 2012 · Comments Off on National Trails Day – June 2nd. · Categories: Work Parties and Projects

Boundary Trail Project

National Trails Day

6-2-2012

Boundary Trail Sign

Click here for pictures of the project area 

I should have been more specific when I commented to Mike Mullin, West Payette National Forest trails manager, that I would like to check out Boundary Trail before the National Trails Day project. Mike mentioned we might have to hike an extra mile or so from the trail head if the latest round of rain had made the road too muddy. Hike? As in, on foot? Isn’t that why God made horses?  I stopped hiking two years ago after I bought one. I packed a quick lunch and, leaving a perfectly good horse standing in the pasture, headed toward town.

Click here to read the entire post

 

31. May 2010 · Comments Off on Packing Trip to Steens Mountain- Summer 2011 with the Burns OR BLM · Categories: Horse Camping, Work Parties and Projects

The Burns District BLM has a pack string that we utilize mostly on Steens Mountain to accommodate field-going groups doing agency business. The string is also known for helping pack out unneeded fence materials from the Steens Mountain Wilderness/No Livestock Grazing Area, where dozens of miles of barbed-wire fence have been dismantled and set aside for permanent removal. ARE YOU INTERESTED IN HELPING WITH THIS EFFORT? Want to bring your mustang to Steens Mountain for a group ride/work party?? We could use additional packing horses and riders…. Dates have not been set; we are considering this possibility for Summer 2011…. but need to know if there’s ANY INTEREST out there…. LET ME KNOW! If you’ve never been to Steens Mountain, this would be a great opportunity to explore the area to the fullest extent!

Tara Martinak
Burns District BLM Public Affairs Specialist
Volunteer Coordinator  Tara_Martinak@blm.gov
541-573-4519

10. April 2010 · Comments Off on April 2010 Wilderness Meeting · Categories: Public Meetings, Work Parties and Projects

Hi Everyone;
Winter has left the Emmett Valley, but yesterday we had our second meeting with the wilderness group and it snowed all day. We met with the Forest Service, Wilderness Society, the Idaho Trails Association, and Back Country Hunters and Anglers. We are making progress in working together for projects in the Frank Church Wilderness.

We have scheduled two projects for this summer. One north of the Salmon River and one South of it.  This is a great opportunity to work with other user groups and build a foundation of cooperation within the various groups. Remember what we said several years ago, “partnerships are the key to success”. If any of your chapter members can make these work projects please let me know and I will relay the information on to the forest service.

1. The first project is on the Churchill Trail out of Dixie. This project will have Ian Barlow using Traditional equipment to remove large trees and rocks. He uses sky rigging, ropes, slings, and pullies just like they did when the trails and roads were made in the mountains. The dates are June 25-26-27-28. The forest service would like about 8 to 10 people each day so people don’t have to work the full four days. We don’t need horses on this project, but if you bring them maybe you can get in some riding up around Dixie, I don’t know the trails there, sorry!

2. The second project is at Yellowpine on Missouri Creek. This trail has not been cleared in 12 years so expect to clear lots of fallen trees. The dates for this project are July 10-11.  We plan to have campfire gatherings in the evenings and this will be a great way to meet the people who walk those dusty trails and a great way for them to see that horse people are not all crazy. There are trails around the Yellowpine area to ride so bring your animals, good water, I don’t know about the grass in the area so plan on bringing hay.

If any of your chapter members are interested in these projects please let me know. As a side note: the federal mint is going to issue 6 new quarters this year and one of them will be the “Frank Church Wilderness” coin. If this area is going to be the gem of the wilderness areas in the United States, then it is up to us to help in any way we can as BCHI to keep those trails open.

Also, the NYC group will be working on Pistol Creek from June until mid August. They need people to pack in supplies for them, please contact Joe Williams if you can help.
Thanks
Phil

*********************

Potential Idaho trail projects

 

Hi folks – sorry to be slow getting back to you all on results of the Idaho Trail Association meeting earlier this month. Here is a summary of potential projects for this year, for ITA and in partnership with others.

 

June 25-27 – Churchill trail, in the FCRNRW, on Nez Perce NF, near Whitewater trailhead on Salmon River, working with the informal wilderness trails partnership. Cutting out 1.5 miles of trail with crosscuts and other tools, which has not been cut in 12 years. Opportunity to work with Ian Barlow using rigging to move large logs.

 

July 9-11 – Missouri Creek trail, at edge and into FCRNRW, on the Payette NF, east of Yellow Pine, working with the informal wilderness trails partnership. Cutting out 6 miles of trail that has not been opened in three or more years.

 

Aug. 7-8 – Duck Lake to Hum Lake trail, in Secesh proposed wilderness, on Payette NF, near Lick Creek summit, ITA taking lead, working with Clem Pope at Krassel RD and with Jeff Halligan. Basic trail maintenance.

 

Aug. 15-21 – Dan Ridge Trail in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, on Powell RD of Clearwater NF. ITA working with Selway-Bitterroot Foundation, which will arrange for packer and crew cook for 6-10 people.

 

September – Boise Front trail project, working with David Gordon, Ridge to Rivers coordinator, at location and time to be set. ITA taking lead and partnering with Backcounty Horsemen of Idaho if possible.

 

Based on the April 8 meeting in McCall, ITA will work with the informal wilderness trails partnership for the Churchill trail and the Missouri Creek trail.

 

We are working to set up at least a bare bones ITA website, for contact points. We anticipate sending out a public version of the project list for the Duck-Hum lakes trail, Dan Ridge and Boise Front, with contact points for people to get more information and to organize additional participation. Does Holly or anyone else anticipate putting out a public call for volunteers, with contact/information points, and do you want to coordinate efforts? We also have some ideas for trails in the Boise Front and need to narrow a plan.

 

Hope we can continue to coordinate trail projects…john

John McCarthy

Idaho Forest Director

The Wilderness Society

950 W Bannock St. Suite 605

Boise, ID 83702

208-343-8153 x4

john_mccarthy@tws.org

www.wilderness.org

Bull Trout Lake, Stanley Basin
Latitude: 44.2988 Longitude: -115.2532
Elevation: 6955 ft (2120 m)

Squaw Butte and High Desert chapters of Backcountry Horseman of Idaho will be spending the 4th of July weekend in the Stanley basin camping at the trail head near the Bull Trout Lake camp ground. Directions from Emmett are posted on the SBBCH website or at http://www.sbbchidaho.org/Directions_toBull_Trout_Lake.pdf. Pictures from previous trips are at http://picasaweb.google.com/sbbchidaho2007/BullTroutLake#

The chapters will be camping in the meadow near the trail heads on the south side of the access road. Horse water is near, and it is a short walk to the FS bathroom and a fresh water hand pump. This is a no fee area of the campground. Members will start arriving either Thursday night or Friday morning. Friday is get your camp set up and fun ride or fishing day. There are a number of trails that are available from Bull Trout Lake. On Saturday for those members interested a work party will be formed to work on removing down fall from the Gates Creek Trail [148]. For members not interested in the work party, a ride on the Pass Creek trail [148] towards the Cats lakes by Red Mountain or Dead Man Creek [147] is an option.

Map of Bull Trout Lake trails:  http://sbbchidaho.org/pdf/bull_trout_lake_trails.jpg

Meals:Breakfasts on Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be communal with members providing fixing like eggs, juice, melon etc. Dinners will be pot luck on Friday and Saturday night. Members should plan on providing one dish for one of the two dinners. Lunches are up to the members to provide for themselves.

Stock: There are good locations for setting up portable corrals as well as high lines. There is good access to water for you stock on the north side of the meadow. The trails in this area have some small bridge crossing. It is a good place to do bridge 101 if your stock has little experience with bridges.

On Sunday for members interested and assuming the trails are open for use (snow above 8,000 feet) an optional ride out of the Iron Creek Trail head to Sawtooth Lake is possible before making the drive home. http://sbbchidaho.org/pdf/Iron Creek Area.pdf  The trail to Sawtooth Lake is full of spectacular mountain scenery and is one of the most popular in the SRA. Bring your camera.

03. May 2009 · Comments Off on Summer Projects & Events · Categories: Horse Camping, Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits, Work Parties and Projects

I welcome all our new SBBCH members and say welcome back to all of our returning SBBCH members. We have a full schedule of events, activities and work weekends lined up for 2009.

We need all of our members to participate so we can achieve all of our commitments. While we do have fun rides, the core purpose of our organization is service. We work to maintain access to trails and trail heads. But we are a volunteer organization; we don’t kill ourselves in pursuit of this work. And we have lots of fun and fabulous food while performing the work.

Food is a core value of our chapter and figures prominently in our work weekends. We make work a social event. Work weekends are a great way to get to know the various SBBCH folks. Our monthly meetings are filled with lots of information, but are not a great way to get to know SBBCH and its members.

So just what are the work weekends like and what are they NOT like?

Work weekends are NOT marathon work events. We hit the saddle Saturday after a very filling communal breakfast. We stop for lunch. We try to be back in camp about 4:30 in the afternoon. Sunday is usually a fun ride in the same general area.

Everyone is NOT required to have pack stock. We usually have a few tools, a couple of chainsaws, and fuel to pack along and only need a few animals to tote it. Everyone does NOT need to run the chainsaws. There is plenty to do lopping out the overgrowth, removing cut logs, and holding horses. If you have a bad back, bad hips, bad knees, or bad whatever, stay in the saddle. But do come and ride with us.

The trails are NOT for ONLY experienced horses and riders. Most trails are suitable for novice horses and riders and riding the trails with the SBBCH folks will increase you and you mount’s experience and confidence.

SBBCH folks observe trail etiquette guidelines. We ensure every one is in the saddle before moving off, we wait to make sure everyone has crossed the bridge or water, we keep tabs on the slower riders and wait for them to catch up.

SBBCH DOES try to make it easy for our members to attend the work weekends. SBBCH provides the certified hay. Trail head directions are available on our web site. Trailer sharing and trailer caravanning is available. SBBCH members are willing to help others learn to camp with their horses and often have excess equipment, like a highline, to lend. SBBCH sets up a communal kitchen, Saturday and Sunday breakfast is communal and Saturday dinner is pot luck.

I look forward to seeing familiar faces and new faces this year at our rides, events and work weekends. I look forward to getting to know each of you better.

17. April 2009 · Comments Off on National Trails Day – Yellow Jacket TH, Near Warm Lake (Cascade) · Categories: Horse Camping, Work Parties and Projects

Saturday/Sunday  June 6-7 2009

Project Leader- Rob Adams, projects@sbbchidaho.org or 208.584.3780   Directions:   Http://sbbchidaho.org\pdf\Yellow_Jacket_TH.pdf

Camping at the Hunters camp at the junction of Rice Creek Road and Stolley Road //  It will be marked and reserved.  Lots of parking for trailers, water for horses near.  Some old corrals, may not be in useable condition.

Three Projects:

1:    Rebuild foot bridge to Vulcan Hot Spring
Tools needed:  Hammers, power drills and bits, socket wrench set, wrecking bar / crowbar, shovels, polaski,  (Dan Fisher – Ranger will be crew chief on this project)

2.    Remove old dam from the hot springs,
Plan on getting wet:  Wrecking Bars to remove dam, springs has silted up due to fire.

3.    Trail rehab crew //  Standard trail project.  Yellow Jacket trail or Telephone Ridge trail possible.

Most members will travel friday night and camp at the trailhead.  Breakfast Saturday morning, work parties start at 09:00.  Provide your own lunch.  Potluck  Dinner Saturday.  Breakfast Sunday.   Plan on a halfday fun ride Sunday.

We had a great turn out for the Hitt Mountain Tool Cache project. Ten members and one guest worked on two trails. Eleven head of riding stock and eight head of pack stock were brought to support the project. The riders on the 268 trail reported it was an enjoyable ride, with great views, ending close to the Sturgill Peak Lookout.

The 270 trail was difficult at first to find due to numerous cow paths and healed over tree blazes, but was successfully found after some scouting around. There were quite a few down trees, and a lot of brushing done. Approximately 2.5 miles of the trail was cleaned.

As usual, we had delicious group meals and lots of good conversation. We have some fantastic camp cooks in our group.

If your interested in a nice ride up West mountain with interesting trails and nice views I can recommend that you make a loop ride out of the Wilson Corral trail [TR135] and the Gabes Peak trail [TR136]. Truck / Trailer parking can be either at the Wilson Corral trail head or Rammage Meadows camp ground where the Gabes Peak trail head is located. I recommend you ride up [TR135] and down [TR136] but either way works nicely.   The Gabes Peak trail has some climbs that make it slow going up.

Wilson Corral trail follows a creek in tall timber for the first couple of miles and then crosses a string of meadows ending up north west of the Radar Dome on Snow Bank mountain. In the meadows the trail gets quite indistinct, as cattle summers graze this area. You will see trees marked, and rock carrions. Continue up the meadows until you can not go any higher without dropping down into a small valley, around 7400 feet.

Look to your right and you will see a small meadow down through the trees and a rocky hillside between you and the radar dome. The trail heads down the hill through the trees into the north end of this meadow. You really don’t want to cross the rocky slope as the going is dangerous on very loose rocks. A nice place to give your horses a drink is located in this meadow.

From here the trail heads south and is easy to follow. You continue south along this grassy valley until you come to a line shack. At this shack, the Gabe’s Peak trail branches off to the right. The trail go left of some large rocks and works it’s way along a south facing slope into a series of meadows along a ridge. Stay in these meadows and on the crest of the ridge and you will have little trouble following the trail. The trail leaves this ridge on the north side and works its way through some large timber coming out on an old logging road. Follow this road to Rammage Meadows. Robbin, his grandson Al, and I rode this loop trail easily on a Saturday leaving the trail head around 10:00 and being back at camp in time for cocktails. This assumes that trail maintenance has been performed prior to making this ride, else it will take a bit longer.

25. July 2008 · Comments Off on Lightning Ridge · Categories: Fun Rides, Work Parties and Projects

The Lightning Ridge trail is a 13.5 mile ride between Deadwood Reservoir and Forest Service road NF-611 (Lightning ridge road) in Garden valley.  Linda Hays and I rode some of this trail from the west, Garden Valley end.  The one lane road to the trail head is in very good shape, and the parking for trailers is limited, so this is not a good chapter ride.  But for small groups, of not more then maybe 4 trailers this trail offers one of Idaho’s best ridge rides.  This is not a ride for people or horses that don’t like to climb and are not comfortable riding on a hill side, as this trail has both.  It also has some wonderful granite rock formations and great views of Scott Mountain, Onion Valley, Garden Valley and the surrounding mountains.  During our ride the wild flowers were doing their best to cover the hillsides.  The west end of this trail is dry, not crossing any streams and the section we rode did not have a lot of shade.  On our trail scale of 1 to 5 with one being a flat dirt road and 5 being OMG, this is a 3.5

This project will be a nice ride to the work site and back with the project work itself boots on the ground. We in concert with the Emmett ranger district and some other volunteer’s are going to re-route a section of this trail from off a very steep ridge into a series of switch backs. The problem with the current trail is erosion and currently installed water bars just made the problem worse. Plan on a few hours with shovel and pick. We will have pack horses to carry the tools, but you should bring your favorite shovel. We will be setting up high lines at the work site for the stock while we work. Directions to Peace Creek Trailhead

This project is to open four trails in the Johnson Creek and Riordan Lake areas. Assuming we have enough members to have four crews, each with a chain saws and other required equipment. All trails were impacted by last years fires, and may have their access limited by late snow and or mud. Wapiti Meadows Ranch will be providing tent camping / camper space, and areas to set up high lines or portable corrals and access to stock water. The chapter will be providing weed free hay for the weekend. Wapiti Meadows Ranch will be providing Saturday and Sunday breakfast and Saturdays dinner. Friday dinner is a chapter provided BBQ, members will provide their own lunches. To attend a “Wapiti Meadows Trip Registration Form” must be filled out and sent in no later then June 5th, 2008 This is going to be a great trip, don’t miss it! Directions to Wapati Meadows South Fork / Johnson Creek Area Map / Wapiti Meadows trip Registration / Directions to Wapati Meadows via Landmark